BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Authorities say a man who falsely claimed he had a bomb inside a carry-on bag at BWI Airport has been taken into custody.
It was tense times at BWI Tuesday morning, after two security checkpoints were shut down in the busiest part of the airport.
46-year-old Jason C. Hallenbeck faces charges of making a false statement concerning a destructive device and interfering with airport security procedures.
The effect of the overnight security breach was obvious on the departure board, with a number of cancelled flights, though Southwest was the only airline affected.
Police trucks lined the terminal roadway. Their dogs spent the overnight hours on duty checking out what their robot had poked and prodded.
“At approximately 1:30 this morning, our officers received a report of a suspicious, unattended bag on the A concourse,” said MDTA Police Lt. Kevin Ayd.
So the A and B concourses were evacuated, but when the two nearby security checkpoints didn’t open for the morning rush, the first wave of arriving passengers had nowhere to go.
So they lined up. And waited. And waited some more. Wondering if they’d make their flights.
So the entire ticketing area filled up.
Then three and a half hours after the bag was first spotted, authorities looked inside, and realized someone just made a mistake and left it behind.
Bomb squad technicians performed an X-ray of the bag and saw what looked like a possible hand grenade device.
A robot was deployed and no device was found.
“You know, a bag with some personal effects in it, and when they deemed it, at approximately 5 o’clock this morning, they deemed there was no real threat to the bag and they gave the all clear,” Ayd said.
But the damage to the schedule had already been done.
When security opened, they couldn’t get people on the planes fast enough, and when that happens, the departure board is full of cancelled flights.
About a dozen arrivals and 40 departures were cancelled, including Scott Tocheterman’s.
“I got an email from Southwest on the way over here from the long term parking lot saying it was delayed, and then an email came 30 seconds later saying it was cancelled. So I showed up here, and thankfully they were able to reroute me on another flight, but it’s going to result in about a 5 hour delay,” he said.
Though the security delays were cleared up rather quickly, some travelers said they wouldn’t get to their destinations until late Tuesday night.